ST NEOTS family-owned wine merchant The Smiling Grape Company is claiming a new January sales record.

The firm was a finalist in the 2010 Drinks Retailing Awards for the Independent Wine Merchant of the Year category.

Managing partner Matt Ellis said: "In a month when people don't traditionally buy or drink wine due to the over-indulgences of Christmas, this year we have successfully implemented our "drink less but buy better quality wine" strategy.

"Two or three days a week without wine, just a glass on other weekday nights and a really special bottle to share at the weekend has been our recommendation."

The Smiling Grape Company has also found that the quality of its wine has also been a key factor to the increase of January sales, Mr Ellis said.

"We have brought smiles to many of our customers' faces over the Christmas period through high quality and excellent value wines, and this has created a great deal of repeat business."

INFORMATION: The Smiling Grape Company is in St Neots High Street and at www.smilinggrape.com. Matt Ellis is on 01480 403100 or 07905 409935, matt@smilinggrape.com